Towing The Company Line

L. Paul Bremer Iraq
Weekly commentary by CBS Evening News anchor and Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer.

Let's get one thing out of the way first: Paul Bremer is a patriot who took a thankless and dangerous job. For one year he was the top American official in Iraq and it was his responsibility to get the country to the point that the Iraqis could at least hold an election.

Now he has written a book, which is something every person who holds such a position owes to history, and this book is his version of history, which is what it should be.

But here's my problem. NOW he tells us that early on he realized there were not enough troops on the ground in Iraq to carry out the mission and that he tried to convince the Secretary of Defense of that.

I have no quarrel with that. In fact, I agree with him. My problem is he never said such a thing publicly at the time. To the contrary, when he appeared on this broadcast and in other forums he always took the government line that troop levels were adequate. He said that as Americans were dying.

More and more, that's the drill. Officials say one thing at the time, but we must wait for the book to find out what they REALLY thought.

Loyalty is to be admired, but towing the company line when we believe it to be wrong is no virtue. In a world where spin rules, we may have forgotten that.

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